Pre-Ban Vs Post-Ban Analogues

The distinction between “pre-ban” and post-ban mephedrone is made everywhere mephedrone is discussed, but has this been “gotten to the bottom of”?
I never had pre-ban mephedrone and wasn’t even aware of its existence until about a year ago. I was surprised by how close/similar it is to MDMA/MDA, only of much shorter duration.

I’ve had 3 different batches from different vendors of it so far. The first one was a yellow/orange-ish fine crystalline powder, the second was the same color but larger crystals, and the third is large white crystals and sticky smaller crystals (similar to this). The third one, though it tastes and feels (in the nose) like the previous two batches and has some kind of serotonergic effect (plus DA/NE), is nowhere near as powerful/good as the first two. The serotonergic effect means it’s not 3-MMC. Could it be 4-MEC?

For all you mephedrone fans out there who keep up to date with the RC and MDxx substitutes scene(s), I would like to ask: Have we figured this out yet? Do we know why post-ban mephedrone is universally(?) regarded as not as good as pre-ban?

Do we have lab data from post-ban samples?

I assume pre-ban was very pure mephedrone. Does it make sense to think that most post-ban mephedrone batches use a different synth method, and therefore somehow the molecule, even if it’s structurally 4-MMC, doesn’t have the exact same properties due to some factor like 3D structure, SAR, lipophilicity, …? Or does this idea denote biochemical ignorance?

What about its chirality? Do some synths create more of one stereoisomer over another rather than a 50/50 racemic compound?

I await to hear from the most advanced drugs discussion forum on the planet about this mystery!

US and Mexican controls on precursor chemicals may reduce cocaine and meth use in the US

In December 2006, the USA regulated sodium permanganate, a chemical essential to the manufacture of cocaine. In March 2007, Mexico, the USA’s primary source for methamphetamine, closed a chemical company accused of illicitly importing more than 60 tons of pseudoephedrine, a methamphetamine precursor chemical. A study published by the scientific journal Addiction found that those two events were associated with large, extended reductions in cocaine users and methamphetamine users in the USA — impacts that have lasted approximately eight years so far.

After changing little during the early 2000s, cocaine use in the USA began a downward shift at the time of the sodium permanganate regulation. In association with that regulation, there was an estimated decrease of approximately 1.9 million past-year cocaine users (a drop of 32%) and 0.7 million past-month cocaine users (-29%). During the period examined following the sodium permanganate regulation (December 2006 to December 2014), there was little or no recovery in the number of cocaine users.

Methamphetamine use in the USA also began a downward shift at the time of the chemical company closure. In association with Mexico’s 03/2007 chemical company closure, there was an estimated decrease of approximately half a million past-year methamphetamine users (-35%), and a decrease of a little more than a quarter million past-month methamphetamine users (-45%). During the period examined following closure of the chemical company (March 2007 to December 2014), methamphetamine user numbers generally remained below pre-closure levels, though a partial recovery in the numbers may have occurred in 2013.

Lead author James Cunningham, PhD, says, “Cocaine and methamphetamine production for international markets requires access to massive amounts of legally manufactured chemicals. Disrupting that access should disrupt the drugs’ availability and use.” He also says, “Strategies directed towards individual users, for example, information campaigns and direct medical care, have not yet fully addressed the public health problem of cocaine and methamphetamine abuse, indicating the need for additional approaches. To this end, and given our study’s findings, control of essential and precursor chemicals warrants a closer look.”

How to Make Meth

The production of methamphetamine — and the desire to consume it — is seemingly unstoppable. When precursor chemicals are brought under tight control in one country, like the United States, production simply moves to another country, such as Mexico. When Mexican authorities clamp down, it moves farther south, or into Europe or Asia. Then, the finished product is shipped right back into the very countries that have waged such a battle to get it out.

Most meth in the United States is made in large labs –“superlabs”– in Mexico. There are many small meth labs in operation in the United States, but these mostly serve to feed the habits of the amateur cooks themselves.

The production of methamphetamine has been made more difficult by federal regulations aimed at controlling the flow of precursor chemicals such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, as well as other necessary components. Through theft, subterfuge, forgeries, personal connections and sheer willpower, determined cooks are able to collect enough materials to make some home-grown meth.

Being determined and being safe are two different things — almost 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) of toxic material is produced for each pound of meth cooked [source: Snell]. This fact, however, doesn’t stop crystal meth addicts from brewing sloppy batches of fuming, stinking, toxic speed in poorly ventilated environments. Houses used as meth labs are often uninhabitable afterward, and cities and states involved in meth lab busts often don’t bother with seizing the property, since nobody in their right mind would purchase it at an auction, even at a steep discount. Small meth labs can be found in suburban houses, motel rooms, car trunks, in campsites or in the woods. Outdoor operations often result in water contamination and a dying-off of nearby vegetation.

Large-scale labs are often located inside abandoned barns or warehouses set up specifically for the purpose of factory-line production of methamphetamine. Although superlabs only make up 4 percent of total labs, they produce about 80 percent of the meth that winds up on the street [source: Suo].

Much as a destination can be reached by taking one of several different routes, so too can crystal methamphetamine be produced by a number of different methods. All of them, though, involve ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. The entire process can involve as many as 32 different chemicals [source: Snell].

Without getting into an exact recipe, we’ll look at how large-scale operations (who are more likely to use a methodical and exact approach to their production) make crystal meth.

  • If the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine isn’t already in pure powder form, then it must be separated from the tablets of cold medicine that contain it. To do this, the cold medicine tablets are mixed with a solvent and the solution is then filtered and exposed to low temperatures to separate and remove the inert material of the tablet.
  • The pure pseudoephedrine is then mixed with red phosphorus and hydriodic acid.
  • The red phosphorus is then filtered out (and later reused), and the remaining acid is neutralized by adding a lye solution.
  • A substance is added that will bind to the meth, and the liquid meth is then drained out.
  • Hydrogen chloride gas is bubbled through the liquid meth, making it a crystalline hydrochloride salt.
  • This is poured through a filter cloth, and the meth that is left on the filter is then dried.
  • Once dry, the meth is “stepped on” (mixed down with inert filler in order to maximize profits), weighed and packaged for shipment or sale.

This process generally takes about two days’ time and can result in hundreds of thousands of methamphetamine doses.